It Would've Been Nice If a Woman Had Won a Nobel Prize This Year, Huh

Image via Jonathan Nackstrand/Getty.
Image via Jonathan Nackstrand/Getty.

Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature on Thursday, rounding out a list of ten other men announced in preceding weeks. That’s great, Bob Dylan is great. How come no women, though?


Sara Danius, the permanent secretary of the Swedish Academy, announced Dylan the winner “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition,” comparing his work to that of Homer and Sappho. Other 2016 winners include cell biologist Yoshinori Ohsumi, who won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discoveries in autophagy; Jean-Pierre Sauvage, J. Fraser Stoddart and Bernard L. Feringa, who developed molecular machines, for the Nobel Prize in Chemistry; David J. Thouless, F. Duncan M. Haldane and J. Michael Kosterlitz for the Nobel Prize in physics; President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia for the Nobel Peace Prize; and Oliver Hart and Bengt Holmstrom for the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science, for their work on contract theory.

This morning, the Nobel Prize Twitter feed sent out this incredibly awkward brag:

Sorry, my Swedish friends, but that is not really an accomplishment! Although last year’s winners included two women, and in 2014 Malala Yousafzai was honored with the distinction of youngest-ever Nobel Prize winner, only 48 women in total have won Nobel Prizes—out of more than 800 winners since the Nobel Prize was established in 1895. No women have won the prize in physics in over 50 years, despite there being a number of worthy candidates.

It’s a damn shame. This year in particular might have been a good time for half the global population to be reminded that they’re worth something.

Ellie is a freelance writer and former senior writer at Jezebel. She is pursuing a master's degree in science journalism at Columbia University in the fall.



What’s really insulting is that they stretched the definition of the category in order to give it to a white man.

I have a lot of writer friends who are pissed because music is an art form, yes, but it already has its own accolades and already gets more recognition than, say, actual poetry.